How to protect from and treat sunburns

During the summer months, a lot of us are exposed to the sun rays and face sun burns. These sunburns are an inflammatory response in the skin triggered by UV radiation damage of the skin. Going swimming, fishing, or working in the outdoors  increases the risk of sunburn. Avoiding sunburn and properly treating it when it happens is important, as it is a direct risk factor for skin cancer. Numerous studies have proven that sun burns, especially when it causes blisters, increases the chance of skin cancer. Here are tips on how to avoid and treat sun burns.

Avoiding sunburn:

  • Always use sun protection cream. Make sure that SPF rating is 30 or higher, otherwise you will get a sunburn.
  • Make sure to put sun protection on your ears, lips, around the eyes, neck, and head if you have light hair.
  • Avoid direct sunlight during peak hours between 10am and 4pm.
  • Wear a hat and clothing that will cover as much of your body as possible to avoid direct sunlight.
  • There are certain medications, such as acne medication, which make the skin at a bigger risk from the sun. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about any medication that you are taking and take extra caution if you are taking such medications.
  • Avoid using tanning oil.

Treating sunburns:

  • Light to medium sunburns can be treated at home. If you are suffering from one of the following symptoms after a sunburn you should contact a doctor:
  1. Severe pain
  2. Formation of blisters on areas affected by sunburn
  3. Headaches
  4. Nausea and vomiting
  5. Dizziness and vertigo
  6. If you suffer from long term disease such as diabetes, hypertension, or cancer
  • If you suffer from sunburn, you should avoid further exposure to sunlight. Stay indoors or in a shaded area.
  • If you get blisters, do not pop them and let them heal on their own.
  • You can use cold water packs or patches, or take a cold shower. Do not use ice patches.
  • Drink a lot of water to replenish your body and skin.
  • Avoid using bathing products that contain oils, perfumes, or salts that would increase skin irritation.
  • Using aloe vera gel or other moisturizing creams helps with the healing process, although avoid creams that contain perfumes. We recommend that you use medical moisturizers.
  • Avoid shaving, peeling, or scratching areas affected by sunburn, as it will increase the inflammation or even expose your skin to bacteria.

The Palestine Hospital family wishes you a healthy and safe summer.